This Couple's September Wedding in California Embraced the Best of Both Summer and Fall

The pair hosted 175 guests at a vineyard in the bride's hometown of San Luis Obispo, Calif., where transitional florals and a coastal-inspired design scheme set the tone for the end-of-summer soirée.

wedding couple kissing during golden hour
Photo: Kelsea Holder

Katie and Connor met in September of 2018 on a new hire office tour, just four days after Connor moved from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco. Just under two years later, in July 2020, Connor proposed to Katie on a dock in South Lake Tahoe—the same exact spot where Katie's parents became engaged. The moment was a family affair: Several of the bride's loved ones flew in for the proposal and were positioned on the shore in staggered rows. Each person handed her a rose before she reached the end of the dock, where Connor was waiting with a ring. Connor even had Katie's favorite song playing—Kina Grannis' rendition of "Can't Help Falling in Love"—which they later used during the ceremony processional.

The pair actually made their first wedding-planning decision before Connor got down on one knee. Katie always knew she wanted to get married at Greengate Ranch and Vineyard in San Luis Obispo, Calif., so she and Connor locked in their September 18, 2021, date ahead of the groom's proposal. As the day drew near, the couple invited 175 guests to their coastal wedding weekend. The venue also offered a pond-side ceremony, a mountain-view cocktail hour, a modern barn reception, and a poolside brunch the morning after the wedding; some loved ones were even able to stay on-site.

The couple hired Vanessa Viera of Vanessa Noel Events to bring their vision of a modern, coastal, and fun celebration—complete with a sage green, seafoam, indigo, navy, sand, and cream color palette—to life. The driving force behind the design? The location and time of year. "We really leaned into a floral palette that felt appropriate for the transition of late summer into fall against a foundation of blues and neutrals that felt like the combination of sand and ocean," Vanessa says.

wedding invitation suite
Kelsea Holder

Coastal Blues

Katie studied graphic design in college, so she had fun weighing in on the invitation suite. The couple worked with Emily Baird to customize their clean modern paper set, which featured a custom blue tie-dye stripe design; the rehearsal dinner invitation, on the other hand, featured an oyster shell illustration and an oversized wave detail. The suite also included a schedule of activities for the weekend, giving guests who traveled the ultimate coastal California experience.

bride at golden hour
Kelsea Holder

Fortuitous Fashion

Katie envisioned herself in something completely different than the form-fitting Made With Love wedding dress she ultimately chose. Feeling pressured by appointment shortages in San Francisco during the peak of COVID-19—and the backlog designers and alteration professionals were experiencing—Katie initially bought a dress that was far too big. Four weeks before her wedding, while Connor enjoyed his bachelor party, Katie realized the dress couldn't be altered to fit in time.

So, she took off a day of work to find a new big-day look with the help of her mom, who brought her to a new boutique where they were able to squeeze in an appointment with the shop's owners. There, Katie tried on a V-neck dress with a lace overlay and, realizing it fit perfectly, made the purchase—after the fact, she discovered that it was one of the owners' own wedding dresses.

bride with bouquet
Kelsea Holder

All in the Details

Katie wore a simple single diamond necklace, a rose gold Monica Vinader bracelet emblazoned with her initials (a wedding gift from her sister-in-law), and drop earrings borrowed from one of her bridesmaids. A long, simple Toni Federici veil was the finishing touch during the ceremony—during which she carried an organic bouquet, filled with transitional blooms like garden roses, zinnias, butterfly ranunculus, and copper beech foliage, down the aisle.

Kelsea Holder

Groom in Blue

Connor wore a blue Calvin Klein suit with a matching vest, white collared shirt, brown shoes, a cream-colored pocket square, and a sage green tie from Dazi. He also donned a watch that had a custom engraving of the couple's wedding date on the back.

His groomsmen chose the same ensemble, but skipped the pocket square. "We absolutely loved how the groomsmen looked next to Connor," Katie says. "The outfits turned out even better than we had expected!"

bridesmaids posing under tree
Kelsea Holder

'Maids in Beige

Katie wanted her bridesmaids to look timeless, so she selected a neutral color palette and provided some guidelines for their wedding-day looks: champagne or beige midi or maxi dresses and neutral-colored heels. "My ladies looked absolutely stunning!" Katie says.

bridesmaids' bouquets
Kelsea Holder

Petite Bouquets

Each 'maid held a smaller, more muted bouquet with quicksand garden roses, reflexed tulips, and copper beech.

wedding arch
Kelsea Holder

Pond-Side Ceremony

The couple's ceremony took place alongside a pond on the property overlooking mountain views. Some guests were seated in vineyard-style chairs while others relaxed on wooden benches; the mix and match approach contributed to the casual vibe of the day.

wedding arch detail
Kelsea Holder

Iron Arch

The pair worked with Katie Noonan of Noonan's Designs to build a modern iron arch structure to frame the pond and mark the site of their vow exchange. The arch was covered in organic floral arrangements in a transitional flower and foliage-inspired palette.

wedding ceremony processional
Kelsea Holder

Here Comes the Bride

Katie was escorted to the altar by her father; when they arrived, they met Connor and his father, who officiated their nuptials.

wedding ceremony
Kelsea Holder

Vows and Sand

During the service, the duo exchanged vows they wrote that morning while getting ready after a sand ceremony; they combined sand from the shores of the Outer Banks in North Carolina, where Connor spent his childhood summers, and from Shell Beach, Calif., where Katie passed hers.

couple kissing at top of the aisle
Kelsea Holder

On the Top of the Aisle

After they were officially pronounced husband and wife, Katie and Connor recessed back up the aisle; at the top, they shared a joyful, celebratory kiss.

wedding lounge
Kelsea Holder

Pottery Barn Cocktail Hour

At the cocktail hour, which took place in front of a ranch house on the venue's property, rentals were used to create an elevated vacation home vibe. "My goal was to make the cocktail hour feel like we were shooting a Pottery Barn or Serena & Lily summer catalog," says Vanessa.

To achieve this, lounge areas—composed of linen-covered furniture—and high top cocktail tables were placed throughout the lawn. The newlyweds attended the cocktail hour and enjoyed socializing with their guests while a playlist they personally curated serenaded the crowd.

charcuterie board at wedding
Kelsea Holder

Charcuterie Station

Katie is a big cheese lover—so naturally, she and Connor offered a charcuterie station featuring imported fromage, fruits, dips, jams, sausages, crudités, and artisanal bread and crackers. Guests also enjoyed passed appetizers like ahi poke on wonton chips and loaded potato skins.

wedding escort cards on trellis
Kelsea Holder

With This Rose

The couple's seating chart was inspired by their engagement; each of Katie's family members passed the bride a single white rose as she made her way towards Connor. To replicate this, individual glass tubes, tagged with guests' names and table numbers, were decorated with white flowers and tied to a vintage lattice.

wedding reception
Kelsea Holder

Reception in the Stables

Katie and Connor's wedding reception took place at the new stables at Greengate Ranch, where an all-white space with arched windows highlighted the mountain and vineyard views.

wedding reception with round table
Kelsea Holder

Coastal, Not Beachy

With the idea of "coastal, not beachy" in mind, reception décor included sandblasted wooden chairs and shades of blue that were brought in through the runners, place settings, and candles. Long tables were kept bare, while the round stations were dressed in flax-colored linens.

wedding place setting
Kelsea Holder

Dressed in Blue

A few longer tables were covered in blue cotton runners; centerpieces, which included a variety of small arrangements in white vessels, were interspersed with blue taper and beige pillar candles for warmth. Crackled chargers set the stage for custom menus that read "Let's Eat" and a variety of blue or flax-hued linen napkins.

wedding table with number
Kelsea Holder

Find Your Table

Simple table numbers, printed on white card stock, were supported by gold metal blocks.

wedding centerpiece
Kelsea Holder

Oversized Arrangements

While bud arrangements spanned the length of the rectangular tables, round stations were defined by oversized centerpieces filled with a mix of roses, dahlias, and wildflowers. Transitional foliage and berries nodded to the cusp-of-fall date.

wedding guests eating dinner
Kelsea Holder

The Lanterns

Vanessa selected pendant lights to enhance the coastal theme, combining natural rattan shapes with capiz shell globes with gold accents. For dinner, guests enjoyed a plated meal, which featured a big crowd pleaser: a sweet corn and jalapeno risotto served with a citrus crusted sea bass.

wedding couple with wine
Kelsea Holder

Making the Rounds

The couple enjoyed visiting their guests—by going table to table—during the meal.

wedding guests dancing
Kelsea Holder

Let's Dance

Katie and Connor hired a DJ to entertain their loved ones throughout the whole wedding, but they carefully curated their own Spotify playlists. "Our playlist was super fun and a total hit for all ages," the bride says. "We've since had many of our guests ask for the playlist to use for their own weddings!" According to Connor, the party featured "arguably the most electric dance floor that there's ever been at a wedding."

During a quiet moment, they shared their first dance to Ed Sheeran's "Perfect," a song they found themselves slow dancing to regularly in their living room. "It felt like it was a natural choice," they say.

wedding couple kissing with sparklers
Kelsea Holder

The Sparkler Exit

At the end of the night, Katie and Connor exited through a sea of sparkler cannons. The couple spent their honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta and Playa del Carmen, Mexico, where they went cave diving, ziplining, snorkeling, and kayaking. To other duos currently planning their wedding, Katie and Connor say, "Hire a full wedding planner! It's 10,000% worth it!"

wedding couple in vineyard
Kelsea Holder


Photography, Kelsey Holder
Venue, Greengate Ranch and Vineyard
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Vanessa Vierra, Vanessa Noel Events
Videography, Andrew James Abajian
Flowers, Katie Noonan, Noonan's Designs
Invitations and Paper Products, Emily Baird
Bride's Gown, Made With Love
Bride's Veil, Toni Federici
Bride's Jewelry, Monica Vinader
Bride's Shoes, Chaos & Harmony
Bride's Hair and Makeup, Blushing Beauty
Menswear, Calvin Klein; DAZI
Groom's Shoes, Amberjack
Engagement Ring and Wedding Bands, Jahan Diamond Imports
Music, Party Proper
Catering, Field to Table Events
Rentals, Theoni; Found; All About Events; BBJ La Tavola
Lighting, Bella Vista Designs

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles